Bryan Helvie The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune
---- — First-year head coach Darrick Cox left the Batesville High School gymnasium Saturday night with a sense of relief.
Relieved that his first game as a head coach was behind him, but more importantly the Lady Bulldogs basketball team escaped with a 52-43 victory over the North Decatur Lady Chargers.
“Always happy with a win and hopefully we got some of the nerves out tonight,” Cox commented. “I thought we did some things really well, but there is still plenty to work on and areas we can improve.
“We need to get the girls to relax a little bit and finish plays ... our goal is to get better each day,” he added.
The Lady Bulldogs came out and handcuffed the Lady Chargers with an aggressive full court press and then transitioned into the same style in the half court.
Like most season openers, offense is sometimes inconsistent and sluggish. Batesville scored just six points through the first five minutes, but held a four point lead because of the scrappy defense.
Junior Brooke Bradford scored five unanswered points and Madi Oesterling hit a field goal in the final minute to give the Lady Bulldogs a 13-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was much of the same, but the scoring picked up. As both teams began to rack up fouls, trips to the free throw line became more frequent and points followed.
The Lady Bulldogs entered halftime with a comfortable 30-15 lead.
What looked like was going to be a relatively easy victory when the two teams headed to their locker rooms for halftime, quickly changed in the third quarter.
Whether it was tiring Batesville legs from the pace of the first half or adjustments made at halftime by North coach Brad Bryant and his staff, the Lady Chargers were much more successful in the second half.
North Decatur outscored the Lady Bulldogs 11-5 over the first four-plus minutes. A 3-pointer by Emma Geis pulled the Lady Chargers within nine points at 35-26. Anna Wallpe added North’s next three points to close the gap even more to six points.
Batesville sophomore Samantha Heidlage ended the scoring drought with a pair of free throws. Later, Heidlage accounted for the team’s final two points of the quarter to make it 39-32 at the break.
The Lady Chargers cut the Batesville lead to two points on a field goal by Laura Haunert at the 6:04 mark in the fourth quarter. Batesville immediately countered with a nice assist from junior Jessica Wagers to senior Chelsey Paul.
North stayed close, but could not grab a lead and gradually lost ground.
Bradford scored four unanswered points to give BHS a 46-40 lead with just over three minutes to play in the game.
The Lady Chargers would not get any closer. A late 3-pointer by Mary Hughes cut it to six points with less than a minute to play, but free throws by Wagers and Paul sealed the victory.
Bradford led all scorers in the game with 17 points followed by Paul with nine and Bailey Baumer with eight.
North Decatur had a balanced attack led by Anna Wallpe with nine points. Hughes, Geis, and Alison Wallpe each added eight.
Defensively, the Lady Bulldogs had a total of 14 steals. Guard Katie Thomas led the team with four, while Bradford and Baumer each had three. Baumer led the team with six rebounds.
BHS junior varsity pulls away in second half for win
The Lady Bulldogs took a 14-13 halftime lead and turned it into a 41-20 victory.
Defense was the difference in the third quarter and it allowed the Lady Bulldogs to extend the lead. North Decatur was held scoreless in the third quarter as the BHS advantage grew to 12 points.
A 16 point fourth quarter by Batesville more than doubled the North output.
Batesville coach Elliott Tekulve had 11 different players score in the game. Shelby Rupp and Sylvia Phillips led the balanced attack with six points apiece. Hannah Wintz, Mary Poltrack, Mary Catherine Barnett, Meg Reidy and Nikki Elkins each had four points.
Rupp led the team in rebounding with nine boards followed closely by Heidlage with seven.
North Decatur was led in scoring by Chelsea Hitchcock with nine points, while Laura Haunert and Olivia Siefert each had four.
Bryan Helvie can be contacted at email@example.com.